What percentage of time are you focused on what you are doing? Truly in the present moment.
If you are among the average, that number would be about 47%, as reported by research done by Daniel Gilbert at Harvard University.
If you’re like many of my colleagues and clients, that number might be considerably lower.
We’re often worried about the past or living in the future. This disconnect from the present moment is often the source of our stress, anxiety and unhappiness.
As Daniel Gilbert states, “The human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy one.” But why do we accept this? Why do we act as if we have no control over our mind and where it goes?
The mind is just a manifestation of what’s happening in the brain, this 2.5-pound organ in our head. Would you be okay if 50% of the time your arm or leg did whatever it wanted and wasn’t in your control? My guess is not, you’d probably go to a neurologist or doctor and say “hey, this arm or leg seems to have a mind of its own. Please help me get it under control.”
So the practice of mindful living is about getting control over our mind and being able to notice when it falters and bring it back to the here and now.
Research shows that those who are mindful are happier, innovative, and more resilient. They are in the moment and in control of their mind. And with meditation directly correlated with mindfulness, it’s no surprise that there’s so much publicity around meditation apps, like Headspace and Calm. Who wouldn’t want these benefits?
But out of everyone that I talk to only 15% actually practice mindfulness. They may even practice meditation, but they are still not mindful for the majority of their day. Considering that on average we check our phones 262 times a day, it’s no surprise that we don’t stay mindful. Phones and tech are optimized to provide our minds with dopamine hits every time we check them. So we are literally addicted to our phones.
With our lives and phone notifications busier than ever, the best way we can make mindfulness an ongoing habit is to include it in our already established daily routines. Try to think of moments in your life where you can bring more mindfulness to them. This can be as simple as when you’re doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or when you’re taking a shower.
Making mindfulness a part of your routine, rather than a singular moment in your day, will help you better spread mindfulness throughout it.
I’ve included some really quick mindfulness meditations below that you can try during your day. Try these and see how they allow you to live more mindfully.